Dahlias really are magical plants. Besides being gorgeous flowers, they have a unique growing pattern.
While the tubers can cost a pretty penny (some over $30 a piece!), it is amazing how quickly you can multiply one tuber into dozens over just the course of a single season.
Sounds crazy, right? Crazy but true.
The first, and most common way to multiply your stock is by dividing tubers. You buy one tuber in the spring, plant that out, cut gorgeous blooms off of it all season, and then in the fall you can dig it up and find a treasure trove of new tubers!
That there is a freshly dug tuber clump. It's hard to believe that this started as a single tuber in the spring!
Not all dahlias are created equal, and some tubers are just less good a making a large clump.
But if you get lucky, you could divide this clump up to produce up to a dozen tubers that can be planted out the following spring. Cool, right?
But that's just where the fun begins.
This is a pile of my rejected tubers from last season. I only keep tubers that I can find an eye on, and that don't have signs of rot or disease.
I'm pretty brutal when it comes to tossing. I only want to plant the very best! So I rarely get a dozen tubers off a single clump.
But I have learned a way to increase my stock even before I plant a tuber in the spring.
The secret? Cuttings! What's a cutting, you ask? It's just about the coolest thing about dahlias.
(Ok, I'm a plant nerd. I admit it. This is my idea of cool.)
You can actually put tubers into some potting mix, and encourage them to start growing.
Then you can take the little green growth, and plant that, and it becomes its own entirely new plant. Is your mind blown yet?
After you cut off the green growth, the tuber will send up more new shoots. You can take up to 10 (although that might be pushing it) cuttings off a tuber in the spring before you plant it out.
Now you have 10 plants plus a tuber to plant out.
And guess what? Each of those little plants will grow its very own clump of tubers.
One tuber could become up to 100 tubers in the next season. That $30 investment is starting to sound a little more reasonable.
Tell me, will you try taking dahlia cuttings this season? You can learn my exact process if you take my dahlia workshop. We will be doing hands-on demos of diving tuber clumps and taking cuttings. And you'll get to take home your own tubers to practice on this season!